#ProfilesofTenacity: Chiamaka Uwagerikpe

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in a podcast studio holding up her phone to take a selfie.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe started her own podcast, called Acquainted.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe is a third-year advertising major from Suwanee, Georgia, involved with Talking Dog Agency, the Student Industry Fellows Program and the UGA Visitor’s Center. She’s also a Strike Magazine content intern and has served as an ambassador for Gurls Talk, promoting the mental health and wellbeing of young women and girls.

To Uwagerikpe, tenacity means always giving yourself a chance. “It’s the act of doing the bold thing of starting, trying, applying, even when it seems impossible. Tenacity is a blend of stubbornness, authenticity and courage, and it’s something I live by,” she explained.

Why did you choose your major?

I didn’t know what I wanted to study when I got to college. I actually changed my major five times before ever taking a class here, which is ludicrous. I just really wanted to make the right decision. But when I got here, I thought about what skills I wanted to have by the time I left. I wanted to be able to pitch and persuade, to be an effective communicator. I wanted to feed my creativity. And that is how I chose advertising. There have been double majors and certificates that came and went, but I find advertising plus my co-curriculars have given me all the skills I desired.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The Gurls Talk community has had the biggest impact on my life during my time as a UGA student. Gurls Talk is a community-led non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women. I had the pleasure of serving as an ambassador to the community, and it completely changed my life. Through the program I met so many amazing people, and learned about myself in a very real way. In order for me to serve well, I had to define my values and find my voice. It transformed the way I think about work and leadership. Being a Gurls Talk ambassador made me a better friend, leader and communicator. It is such a welcoming community, and I highly recommend everyone check out the cause.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe sitting in a chair in front of a camera.
Chiamaka Uwagerikpe will spend summer 2023 as a corporate communications intern at IHG.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady experience has to be responding to a Grady Listerv email. A team was looking for an intern with much more experience than I had, but I got a spot on the team anyway. I am so grateful for that turn of events because it has led to so much growth. I have gotten to meet other amazing Grady students and supportive alumni. I’ve gained so many technical skills and learned more about storytelling. I’ve gotten to ask so many questions, which is my favorite pastime. All because of an email.

What are you passionate about?

I am wildly passionate about culture and community building. These are things that transform and uplift people.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

A piece of advice that I would give to other Grady students is to stay curious. You don’t necessarily have to do everything under the sun, but engage with your surroundings. Ask questions. Get to know the people around you. Be intentional and be present.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m a pretty nervous person. But I never let my nerves get in the way of me living.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I have no idea. I hope to live abroad, working for an innovative creative agency. I’ll have a cozy apartment, and I’ll call my family on a regular basis. I’ll be living well. I’m currently working on habits that will get me to reality close to that.

Chiamaka Uwagerikpe poses with a group of people in front of the Delta sign.
Through the Student Industry Fellows Program, Chiamaka Uwagerikpe has worked with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides.
What motivates you?

My family motivates me, especially my siblings. They inspire me to be great in a way that is authentic.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

One of my biggest accomplishments this past year is becoming an Innovation Fellow here at the University of Georgia. The Student Industry Fellows Program has opened up so many learning opportunities for me. As a fellow, I use my creativity and communication skills to solve complex problems for clients. I have gotten to work with Cox Enterprises, Delta and Worldstrides and tackle issues of tech, sustainability, and culture. The fellowship has given my confidence in my professional abilities and has given me new friends from all across campus.

#ProfilesofTenacity: Marillyn Heigl

Marillyn Heigl is a fourth year student majoring in advertising, international affairs, romance languages and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Heigl is a strong believer in lifelong learning and a lover of stories, and her college experience has been heavily impacted by the organizations that she is involved in on campus.

Why did you choose your major?

For a very long time, I had no idea what I wanted to study in college.Admittedly, it’s stressful to be surrounded by people who seemed like they’d known they wanted to be doctors or lawyers since middle school when you’re struggling to figure your future out. But, that all changed in December of 2016 when I watched Google’s 2016 Year in Search. I watched that video practically on a loop obsessively. That video did such a beautiful job of capturing the rawness of that year and making it into something beautiful. Even now, I cry like a baby every time I watch it and look forward to the new Year in Search every single December. I remember realizing how powerful it was that a video produced as a way of promoting a company could be so moving. Because of that video, I realized I was interested in studying the ways that communication can influence emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

Right now I’m taking Telenovelas, Culture, and Society with Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru as my final Grady class and she is absolutely fantastic. Dr. Acosta-Alzuru is the epitome of someone who has identified a personal passion and pursued it with determination. She is incredibly knowledgeable and her expertise never fails to blow me away. For anyone who speaks any Spanish, I would absolutely recommend taking this class with Dr. Acosta-Alzuru, I promise you won’t regret it.

Heigl holds up a sign she made for the homecoming parade at the UGA Visitors Center. (Photo: submitted)
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The most impactful part of my college experience has been having the privilege of working at the UGA Visitors Center as a tour leader. I applied my freshman year expecting to be turned away and was ecstatic when I got the phone call telling me I would get to do my dream job. I can’t begin to try to express all the ways working at the VC has changed my life. The job itself has made me more curious, a better listener, and comfortable with vulnerability. Getting to play a small part in such an important life decision for prospective students isn’t something I take for granted. Additionally, many of the people who work there, between my coworkers and bosses, are not just friends and mentors but also like family. When I walk into the VC I feel like Michael Scott from The Office — it’s my favorite place to be.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

My most memorable Grady moment was when I found myself listening to the first minute of Birthday Song by 2Chainz on a loop for 20 minutes so I could remix it to be about Krystal, the fast food chain. For context, my advertising capstone had us present a campaign to promote Krystal’s new big chicken sandwiches and 2Chainz had been named their new head of creative marketing. That remix is honestly the weirdest thing I have ever created for a class but it was fun too.

Heigl was a Peer Leader for Connect, one of SGA’s First-Year Programs. Here, she and her group smile for a picture at one of their weekly meetings in the MLC. (Photo: submitted)
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?

Back in April, I received the Student Organization Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Award for Commitment to Peer Mentorship. I had the honor of being a Peer Leader for Connect, one of Student Government Association’s First-Year Programs, during the 2021-2022 school year and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in college. I was able to walk alongside some very special freshmen as they navigated their first year at UGA and now get to watch them step forward as inspiring campus leaders. It was meaningful to be recognized for my investment in other students because it affirmed that I had paid forward the effort that my mentors have invested in me.

Heigl and other Student Alumni Council members help welcome the newest freshman class to UGA. (Photo: submitted)
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I live by the following advice from my parents: don’t let the classroom get in the way of your education. Yes, I came to UGA to get my degrees and graduate but education can’t be restricted to PowerPoint presentations and exams. Anyone hoping to be a lifelong learner needs to shift their mindset to where they seek to learn from experiences that aren’t traditionally academic. From watching interesting Netflix documentaries to traveling in new environments to the people I’m surrounded by, I find myself learning all the time. You don’t need to sit in a classroom to keep learning, that’s something I hope to never lose sight of.

Who is your professional hero?

My professional hero is UGA graduate Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York. Stanton moved to New York and survived off of unemployment checks while photographing portraits of New Yorkers to tell their stories. Since starting HONY in 2010, the whole thing has blown up. The Instagram is wildly successful with over 12 million followers, he has traveled all over the world and has sold many books full of the stories of the people he’s met. In fact, one of Stanton’s books is prominently featured on the coffee table in my apartment as I write this. Stanton is a master storyteller and has highlighted so many of the complexities and truths of the human experience. His work has touched the hearts of many, including mine. What I wouldn’t give to sit down and get a coffee with him, he must have the best stories to tell.

Heigl poses with a friend in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during her summer 2022 study abroad program. (Photo: submitted)
What are you planning to do after you graduate?

I am still figuring out the answer to this question and that’s okay. I have some extra time to figure it out, though. My application to do the capstone for UGA’s Portuguese Flagship Program is being reviewed and if selected I will be in Brazil in 2023 from February to December. I will go to a university there for four months and then get an internship and work for six. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so while it’s a little terrifying, it’s also exciting. I’m hoping that the internship component of this 10-month program will provide me with more insight that will inform what direction I’d like to go in after graduating in the Spring of 2024.

What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

A lot of people would be surprised to know that I went to an immersive language school in the middle of Indiana for 9 years.

Where is your favorite study spot?

Any dining hall where I can sip on a Dr. Pepper while I do my work with either my earbuds in or while chatting with friends!

Student dominates on the track and on campus


While other students are getting ready to go out or studying for finals, Hayden Swank only has one thing on his mind as he watches his competitors circle the track at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. His best lap time is 0.3 seconds behind the leader. No matter what his team does, they can’t manage to close that last gap.

Between brainstorming sessions in the trailer and running out to make last-minute changes, Swank is intensely focused on his car.

Hayden Swank sits in his car, and his reflection is shown through the rearview mirror.
Hayden Swank prepares for his race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

The skill to navigate a racetrack at top speed is one that Swank has been working on since he was a small child. Members of his race crew say that he has been a sound driver since the age of 7, when he first started racing in quarter-midget cars on local tracks.

As the tires wear down and the light fades, the team calls it quits for the day. After all, they spent all day Wednesday following the exact same motions to dial in every point of contact between the car, the track, and Swank.

Saturday, 7:16 p.m.

Swank dons his fireproof suit in the trailer as the previous race runs its last laps. His race should start at 7:30, but an old transformer blows on the back half of the track, killing the lights. This means a later start for Swank and more time for strategy.

Swank has spent his entire life preparing for the wave of the start flag. His opponents now are big names with big money backing them—racers like Josh Berry and Chad McCumbee.

“It’s like, man, I asked him for an autograph when I was 12 and came to watch these races,” Swank said. “And we haven’t looked out of place against them. But for me, this isn’t the end goal.”

Swank’s ultimate target is to race in the NASCAR Cup Series, a future goal that his team says Swank is always working toward.

While it is tough for Swank to compete against teams with seemingly endless financial backing, this isn’t the only hurdle that Swank has had to overcome in his racing career.

“Nine times out of 10, I’m going to be the only Black driver—not only in my division but in the whole competition,” Swank said. “It’s not uncommon for me to walk into a track and not only be the only mixed driver or the only Black driver, but the only person of color on the premises.”

Hayden Swank sits in the stands in preparation for a race.
Hayden Swank at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

Swank says that this division puts extra pressure on him as a driver: “I feel like I have an extra responsibility and extra obligation to represent, you know what I mean? I want to put on a good show and prove that I have a place in the sport, and I want to prove to everybody else that anybody can make it.”

Despite the differences and setbacks, Swank remains unfazed as he pulls off a 13th place finish at his third race of the season, and on this tour. While not on the podium, this is no small feat considering his starting position amongst 26 other drivers, including several with more years behind the wheel than Swank has been alive.

Monday, 8:47 a.m.

Swank is back in Athens, and his focus shifts to college life.

Double majoring in advertising through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and marketing through the Terry College of Business, Swank is in his third year at the University of Georgia.

Going to school while managing a racing career is a challenge, but it’s one he’s up to.

“I think being one of the very few drivers pursuing a degree that’s very relevant to what we do on a day-to-day basis does give me an edge,” Swank said. “I take a lot of what I learn in my advertising and marketing classes and apply that to the racing industry, like the pitches I make when I have to approach a company for the funds to keep the team alive and actually go racing.”

Hayden Swank gives an interview prior to the race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina.
Hayden Swank gives an interview prior to the race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith AB ’18/UGA Marketing and Communications)

But he likes to keep those two worlds separate.

“I try not to talk about racing too much or let people know that I race because once I do, I guarantee you that’s all I will talk about with them,” Swank said. “I want to have a life outside of racing, and school’s the best way to do that.

“But I do get a certain sense of fulfillment when I can get somebody interested in racing that would have had no exposure to racing otherwise. I’ve gotten my roommates to the point where they can carry on a conversation about racing. And I’m like, ‘OK, I did my job here.’”

The above feature was originally written and posted by UGA Today, and can also be found on the UGA Today website.

Grady InternViews: Luke Yearwood

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities

My internship is one that spans multiple departments that fall within the umbrella of marketing, such as corporate partnerships, advertising and special events. Throughout the duration of the twelve-week program, I spend two weeks in each department, assisting and learning from the respective staff and applying the knowledge I gain in the classroom to a real-world setting. In addition to this, I also get the opportunity to work on multiple intern-specific projects, one being the creation of detailed project management systems to be used throughout the Hall of Fame’s annual event and activation calendar.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is the importance of being bold and not afraid to speak up as an intern. One of the things that I have been most grateful for regarding my time at the Hall would be how (surprisingly) small the office is. This allowed me opportunities to work directly with higher-level executives such as the VP of Marketing and even the CEO, which can definitely be intimidating at times. However, I have found that – despite being an intern – not being afraid to share my thoughts and ideas is greatly appreciated, and even encouraged. In this role, my voice definitely matters, and it has made me realize that the ideas I have and my opinions should be and are valued by my coworkers!

How will this role guide your future career path?

Pursuing an advertising degree, as well as serving on the board of directors for the Talking Dog Agency based out of Grady, I had only had exposure to what it was like to work for a third-party company or organization. However, coming into the Hall of Fame, I am now part of an in-house marketing team. Naturally, it differed a good bit – but, I have now worked on both sides of marketing, and I can use that experience to figure out which jobs I would like to take in the future, as well as what those positions may entail. After this summer, I’ll be able to more effectively narrow down the work I’d like to do, as opposed to having to figure that out once I’m already in the workplace.

What’s the most challenging part about this position?

The most challenging part about this position is learning how to juggle multiple projects at one time. In addition to cycling through different departments every two weeks, I am also tasked with working on multiple intern projects, which are all being developed simultaneously. On an average day, I am working on three to four different projects, events, campaigns, and my project management skills have definitely been put to the test.

What advice would you give to students looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Take advantage of the people you know, or even who they may know. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past year is the power of networking. I got my internship through a friend of a friend, and I was shocked by how much weight that single connection carried. Reach out to people on LinkedIn, go to career fairs, email your parents’ friends, and make every connection you possibly can. You’ll be surprised how much closer it gets you to a job in the interview process!

image of Luke's intern card
Luke works in person for his internship in Atlanta. (Photo:submitted)
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far?

Truthfully, my favorite part of my whole experience has simply been the novelty of it. Getting to work somewhere like the College Football Hall of Fame has given me so many opportunities that I never thought I’d have – I got to work the first ever NIL Summit for collegiate athletes, meet a few big names in college football at SEC Media Days, and make so many connections with different corporate sponsors such as Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft. I’ve felt like a little kid meeting all these heroes, and it’s made the extensive work so worth it!

Grady InternViews: Caleb Smathers

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and your responsibilities:

As a project manager, my role consists conducting market research, owning product vision, communicating with customers about their pain points when navigating our platforms, drafting project lifecycle plans, and working with cross-functional teams to bring our product vision into the hands the of our consumer base.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far is that I belong. I belong in every space, every room, every job, and every position I occupy. When I first started my internship, I was crippled with imposter syndrome. I felt as if my manager made a mistake in choosing me for the position. I quickly learned that imposter syndrome is a very common feeling and the best way to be free of its grasp is simply to be open and honest. Be open with your trusted team members, and seek mentorship. Although imposter syndrome doesn’t leave overnight, you will notice a shift in your confidence, ability, and workflow as you gain more experience and overcome obstacles.

What advice would you give to students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities?

Take the shot! I absolutely cannot stress this enough. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned while going through the internship recruitment process is that you should always apply for that “dream” role even if you don’t check off every single requirement. Skills can be learned, but you and all that you bring to the table simply can’t. Use your resources and take full advantage of your network.

If you could describe your internship in only three words, what would they be?

Innovating, Rewarding, Supportive

How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?

Although I discovered my career “passions” before embarking on my internship journey, this experience has amplified my desire to work in the technological spaces, aiding in developing services and platforms more accessible to the end user.

How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?

The classes I’ve taken at Grady prepared me for this internship by teaching me how to look at problems, specifically in the media space, through an analytical lens. My classes taught me to think beneath the surface problem and instead, identify the root of the issue.

7 Grady students recognized as 2022 Multicultural Advertising Intern Program fellows

Seven Grady College students have been selected by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Foundation to participate as fellows in the 2022 Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP).

These students, along with a group of over 200 of their peers from colleges and universities across the country, are engaging in a 22-week fellowship program that prepares them with the skills and connections they need to build a foundation in the industry. 

“Being selected as a MAIP fellow has been the highlight of my advertising journey thus far,” said Smera Dhal, a third-year Advertising major. “This program emphasizes the unique experiences that shape multicultural students and the significance of their representation in the advertising world.” 

In the spring, MAIP fellows participate in a 12-week virtual training series on topics within the industry, which is geared to prepare them for their 10-week paid summer internships with top agencies across the United States. 

“I’m looking forward to spending the summer gaining hands-on experience with real clients!” said Priya Desai, a fourth-year Advertising major. “I’m especially grateful to the 4A’s Foundation for creating a program that values my diverse experience and champions equity and inclusion throughout the industry.”

Throughout the program, fellows also have the opportunity to learn from a team of over 200 volunteer coaches and participate in advertising workshops and panels. The fellowships are available in over 16 disciplines, including social strategy, copywriting, design, public relations, communications planning and many more. 

“I feel lucky to have found an internship that isn’t just another desk job,” said Midori Jenkins, a second-year Entertainment and Media Studies major. “Additionally, I cannot wait to move to Los Angeles for the summer and will be using this time to maximize networking opportunities and explore the city.”

Since it started in 1973, MAIP has grown a vast and diverse alumni network of more than 4,100 who have come from more than 80 colleges and universities across the United States. Nearly 80 percent of MAIP’s participants are female, and 100 percent are members of minority groups. 

“I am honored to be a MAIP fellow and to contribute to the diversification of predominantly white spaces,” said Dhal. “I hope to see a future where more Indian girls can wholeheartedly and unapologetically pursue their creativity.”

The seven Grady students participating in the program are Priya Desai (SSCG Media Group), Smera Dhal (Digitas Boston), Melissa Flores (Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners), Madison Greer (MSL Group), Midori Jenkins (Ignition Creative), Jocelyn Peña (Sony Music Group) and Heaven Robinson (Saatchi & Saatchi).

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Smera Dhal

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means bouncing back.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Through Grady study abroad, I spent this past summer at the Creative Circus in Atlanta. While the course itself was rather rigorous, I got to spend every day with the most incredible and inspiring creatives. I’m grateful to say many of them are now my buddies here at UGA.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about people! I love getting to know someone new. The best feeling in the world is strengthening your connection with someone you love.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The Cookout on W. Broad Street has kept me going through my darkest hours.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment has been being appointed a 2022 MAIP Fellow. This internship program focuses on promoting diversity within the advertising world, and I am so excited to have been placed with the Digitas agency for an Art direction internship this summer!

Dhal (far left) participated in the Creative Circus program in 2021.
What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

Grady introduced me to the professional side of graphic design. This semester, I have begun creating posters, show announcements, and even cover art for local musicians. Check out “On Your Roof” by Evelia on all platforms, artwork by me!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

When I was learning how to ride a bike, my dad used to tell me “sedha dekho, pedal karo” which in Hindi means “look straight, keep pedaling.” I apply it more metaphorically to my life now, and it keeps me focused.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Make cool stuff!

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I like to make candles!

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

There’s a bench right outside the Journalism building under the big magnolia tree. It doesn’t jut out, it’s obscured, but it’s got a wide view of Sanford Drive. It’s perfect for anything – eating, studying, people-watching.


#ProfilesOfTenacity: Jane Congfei Lian

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

For me, tenacity means always staying positive when facing tough circumstances or situations. The most important difference I found between human beings and animals is that we are born to be adaptable. I came to the U.S. two years ago across the Pacific Ocean with two suitcases. Studying abroad during college is like uprooting a tree to an entirely new field. Tough times came, with everything being unfamiliar, strange, unexpected and different from what I used to. However, I always reminded myself why I came here. I tried to build connections with new people, get involved in organizations and learn different cultures. I strived to adapt to the new environment and improve my personal development skills. The biggest takeaways from my college experience is to never be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone, to explore all opportunities and to not underestimate how strongly adaptable we can be. 

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

I have countless memorable Grady experiences. My favorite one was the moment I was awarded the New Media Certificate. Standing on the stage with my fellows and professors, I finally became a certificate alumni. This was the first degree I finished at UGA. This certificate not only proves the skills I’ve learned, but also represents the effort I invested in paving my career path.   

What are you passionate about?

Serving people. I have a strong desire to serve as a bridge for everything I’m working on. In Grady activities, I aim to connect juniors who are pursuing media with people in professional industries. As a world leader for International Student Orientation, I aspire to help them make UGA feel like coming home and to connect cultures. When it comes to serving my clients, I want to help them to build relationships with their target customers. To put it briefly, I believe credibility builds relationships.  

Lian pictured with Women in Media executive board
Lian (front row, right) is the social media manager for Women in Media at UGA.
What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Serving as the social media manager at Women in Media has left a deep impact throughout my UGA life. WIM’s mission is to motivate creative women in all forms of media. Through WIM, I have learned we can not only grow ourselves, but also help our peers grow. That is true women’s power.  

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’ve been a big fan of Taylor Swift since I was 10 years old. I have TS on my wall, my clock, my ruler and my blanket at my home in China.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

The first floor study area near Studio 100 inside Grady. That’s where I spent most of my time to complete my schoolwork. It’s quiet and easy to find a spot. You can see outside from the door and eat snacks from the vending machine when you are hungry. 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?

Take an example of when I was serving as a Junior Research Strategist in the Talking Dog Agency. Our client JT Hanna is a family run screen-printing business. My job was to craft a survey on Qualtrics in order to help our client gauge the Atlanta market’s awareness as well as customers’ screen printing preferences. Although I have no previous knowledge on using Qualtrics or creating insightful research, I reached out to other colleagues to gain ideas about what questions I should set up in my survey to reach our client’s goal. Finally, I drafted the survey along with another strategist and got 215 responses. This ultimately helped our client to improve their brand position. 

Lian (pictured second from right) is a former Junior Fetch Strategist for Talking Dog.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

I wish I could land on a job or internship with a structured advertising & marketing agency to enhance my skills. My dream job is to be a brand strategist because I believe brand storytelling is the future of marketing. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

Last year I was unable to see my friends or go back home to see my parents. I cannot describe how much I missed home and I cannot see what comes next in the future. But I did not choose to stop, instead, I utilized the gap year to improve my resume, cover letter and portfolio to strengthen myself. I also started to use LinkedIn to build connections with alumni and reach out which helped me find many great school organizations that alumni are involved in. I began to apply to different organizations such as Talking Dog and Women in Media to find opportunities to grow. I couldn’t have reached where I am without the Covid year because it gave me more time to think about what I want to pursue and what skills I should develop to arrive there.   

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

My father has influenced me in many aspects. He is the one who has strongly supported me to study abroad and pursue what I love. “Go and see the big world, and you will find yourself and who you want to be,” he always tells me. “You learn to be critical by immersing yourself in different places and hearing from a variety of people’s perspectives.”  


Alise Crittendon named AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student

Alise Crittendon, an advertising student from Mableton, Ga., has been selected to the American Advertising Federation (AAF) 2022 class of Most Promising Multicultural Students.

“This is one of the biggest honors I’ve received thus far because it represents everything I have been striving for: increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the media industry,” said Crittendon. “I even wrote about this in my Grady statement of interest two years ago!”

The AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program is part of an initiative to promote diversity in the advertising workplaces. Crittendon will participate in a four-day workshop that will help advance skills, enhance professional development and provide exclusive networking opportunities.

Crittendon and her fellow 49 honorees from around the country were selected by a judging panel featuring representatives from Amazon, The Coca-Cola Company, TikTok, and many more leading advertising organizations.

“We are so proud to add Alise to the UGA Department of Advertising and Public Relations alumni who have been selected to participate in the highly competitive American Advertising Federation Most Promising Students program,” said Bryan Reber, Advertising and Public Relations Department Head.

Crittendon was also selected as a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies  Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) earlier this year.

Crittendon credits Women in Media and Talking Dog as organizations that have helped her grow during her time at Grady College.

Reber says Crittendon has become a superstar student and has grown through mentoring with faculty.

“Special thanks go to faculty who teach and mentor these students as they prepare their portfolios for the competitions,” Reber said. “Dr. Kirsten Strausbaugh has been a special mentor to Alise.”

After graduation, Crittendon plans to join an advertising agency as a copywriter where she would develop campaigns and powerful messaging for brands. She says she found a love for storytelling at Grady College and wants to use that passion to help brands execute strategy with creativity. She also credits her extra-curricular activities with helping her grow into a young professional.

“Women in Media and Talking Dog Agency are both special to me for different reasons, but my involvement in these gave me the confidence and experience I needed to continue working towards my goals,” said Crittendon.

See the full release from the American Advertising Federation here.

You can learn more about Crittendon in this InternViews piece published earlier in 2021.

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Shruti Muruganandan

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

I decided on advertising as my course of study by sheer luck. I came into UGA without a clear idea of what I wanted to pursue and took ADPR 3100 upon the recommendation of my advisor, who suggested it because I was interested in a career that combined creativity with logic and critical thinking. ADPR 3100, or Principles of Advertising, introduced me to the field and to all the limitless bounds of possibilities of creative and strategic work, and I decided then that it was for me.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

My name in Sanskrit means “melody” or “music”. Not surprisingly, music was a huge part of my life growing up – I played the viola, the violin and even a bit of the drums. I was involved in Indian Carnatic singing and was a Bharatanatyam dancer for a while.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity describes someone who has the courage and determination to keep on the path they believe in, irrespective of what others think or do. Choosing the field of advertising often meant that I didn’t have anyone in my immediate community to go to for advice or guidance – I don’t have an aunt, a cousin, or a family friend in the industry that I might look to for assistance. It also meant that, as a woman of color, I don’t see many people who look like me or have a background or upbringing like me in my industry. My perspective is often unique compared to that of my peers, which sometimes leaves me feeling like the odd one out. Being tenacious means that regardless of any challenges I face or setbacks I must deal with, I am determined to stick to my path because I believe that advertising can be meaningful and powerful enough to create an impact and that I am capable of being in and thriving within this field. 

What are you passionate about? 

I really stand by the power of diversity and representation within the field of communications. A mentor once told me that marketing and advertising often serve as mirrors to society. What we choose to advertise and communicate often reflects our image of society and the people that we speak to. Knowing this, I don’t believe that advertising has reached its true potential, as many minorities of different backgrounds and perspectives are not spoken to or celebrated. Advertising has the ability to create and impact human culture and providing and striving for adequate representation in media and advertising benefits all parties involved. Advertisers are inherently storytellers, and it’s vital that the stories we choose to tell are inclusive of all. I’m passionate about this issue because I feel that advertising has the unique power to bring about real change in this world and I hope to help achieve this goal during my lifetime.

Who is your professional hero?

One of my professional inspirations is Anjali Sud, the current CEO of Vimeo. Sud is an Indian-American woman who became CEO of a (somewhat) failing company and spearheaded a bold repositioning of the brand to set itself apart from competitors like YouTube, and eventually, it grew enough to turn a profit and go public on Nasdaq.  I love that Sud wasn’t afraid to back down from a challenge and trusted her vision for the company enough to see it through to success. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I worked as a Strategy Intern at an advertising agency called Doe-Anderson this past summer through the MAIP program. It was my first time working in an actual agency and I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Looking back, I had nothing to worry about. My team was super welcoming and supportive, and I was given so many challenging and interesting projects to work on. Toward the end of one of my major projects, which was for a new client the agency had acquired and the first campaign the agency was creating, I received positive feedback from not only my strategy/planning team but also from the creative and account team. I felt so proud of the work I had done in that moment. It made me excited that I had found my calling and inspired me to continue creating meaningful work.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

My time with Talking Dog has had a huge impact on my personal and professional life during my time at UGA. I was accepted to work as a project manager when I was a sophomore and was absolutely terrified at the prospect, since I had little to no experience in advertising, let alone project management. I was totally convinced that they had accepted me on accident. However, I recognized that I had been given a great opportunity regardless and that I should take advantage of it, so I worked hard, learned so much about working on a team and with clients, and grew to be more confident and outspoken. I joined the Board of Directors the year after as the Director of Fetch during the pandemic, which presented its own set of challenges. It proved difficult to build connections with new members using only Zoom but Talking Dog cultivates an incredible and inclusive culture of support and encouragement and because of that, we were able to have an incredible year. Talking Dog gets brought up in interviews all the time because of how unique of an opportunity it is for college students, and I’m always so happy to talk about how much I learned from my experience and how much fun I had. Talking Dog is definitely a highlight of my college career!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

This piece of advice wasn’t given solely to me – I attended the Publicis MCTP conference in 2020 and one of the panels presented in the conference was hosted by Ronnie Dickerson-Stewart, then chief diversity officer of Publicis Group, and Minda Harts, author of The Memo. They shared that “self-advocacy is one of the greatest forms of self-love.” It becomes easy, especially in corporate America, to want to silence your voice because you might feel that you’re just grateful to be here. But, it’s important to understand that people that hire you and want to work with you will seek you out because you have talents and gifts that they want. It’s important to recognize the power you hold and be your biggest supporter in advocating for yourself.

Muruganandan attributes some of her best memories in college to her involvement in Talking Dog.
What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

I love Twitter! I hardly ever create my own Tweets but I love the community and expression that’s present on that platform. While the jokes on Twitter are incredible, I really like how people can share experiences, have conversations and build a broader community. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

North Campus is a lovely place to be, but my favorite spot is on the lawns in front of the Old College. My freshman year, I spent a ton of time just sitting on the benches and reading or doing homework. It’s beautiful in the spring and the fall, and I love to people watch there!